The Tigers overcame a two-goal halftime deficit Saturday but concluded the Smith-Cotton Soccer Shootout with a loss in PKs to Willard.
S-C junior Sam Cash provided two goals within two minutes just after halftime. Tigers senior Austyn Wenner recorded the first assist and Veniamin Torchylo sent a corner kick to help tie the match.
Wenner tied the game again with three minutes remaining in regulation. After a pair of overtime periods, Willard won the shootout 5-4.
The Tigers (1-1) played with two available substitutions. S-C head coach Ethan Weller said illness, vacation and a players’ academic obligation Saturday limited the number of reserves.
“With very minimal subs, they played super hard,” Weller said. “That just kind of shows the condition we’re in early on.”
Weller said the Tigers, even at full strength, will rely on countering opponents to score goals.
“We’re going to be a team that is going to have to really play well as a group and defend. And we’re probably going to have to counter,” Weller said. “I don’t know if we’re the team that’s going to knock it 15-20 times on you and score. I don’t know if we’re skilled enough to do that.
“One thing I’ll say is Smith-Cotton is kind of known as a team that’s very scrappy, very tough mentally and physically, and that’s what we have right now.”
Sacred Heart (0-2) dropped its match with Willard 5-2 on Friday and fell 4-1 to Osage on Saturday. Gremlins freshman George Bain netted two goals over the weekend and junior Ian Viscarra recorded a game-tying goal against Willard.
The Gremlins host Lone Jack on Thursday.
S-C hosts Helias in their Central Missouri Activities Conference debut 5 p.m. Tuesday at Tiger Stadium.